Month: October 2014

Justin joins the Sustainability team

Hello there!

I’m Justin and I have recently joined the Sustainability team as a new Sustainability Projects Assistant. I couldn’t be more excited about joining the team and the great work being done.
Justin Fisher

I have recently completed a Master’s course in the history of science, technology and medicine here at King’s. One of the first modules I took as part of the course was environmental history, and over the past year I have become increasingly fascinated with the role of the humanities in addressing environmental concerns as well as interested in sustainability more broadly, which has led me to this position. I believe that universities have a special responsibility to be leaders in this area, and this is an exciting time for King’s in this domain. I am particularly interested in the role of individuals and in the creation of cultures of sustainability.

One thing I will be working on is turning this blog into a platform for sustainable engagement. It is a valuable medium for the team to keep the university updated on its events, but we also want it to be a medium for staff and students to contribute to the discussion and share their ideas and passions. Would you like to contribute? If so, please do get in touch. Keep your eyes on this space for more regular posts about all things sustainable.

Outside of this role, I am an avid reader and enthusiast of ultimate frisbee and ice hockey, among other things. I’m a Canadian who is very much enjoying exploring the UK and learning about our subtle cultural differences, often by unwittingly embarrassing myself.

If you’ve got questions about what we’re working on or how you can be involved, please do be in touch!

NUS Blackout 2014!

NUS blackout logo

Blackout Friday 14 November – please join us!

King’s and KCLSU will be participating in the first UK-wide National Union of Students Blackout on Friday 14 November 2014.

As a university, King’s spends nearly £10 million on utilities per year. Small changes made by staff and students have the potential to dramatically reduce this figure, as well as reducing our carbon footprint and saving energy. For the Blackout, buildings on the Strand, Waterloo and Denmark Hill Campus  will be included in the shutdown (not including labs).


Staff and students can work across the campuses during the Blackout evening. The evening will run from 18.30 until 21.45, and then we will have a small celebration with food and drinks. To volunteer, please fill out our sign up form.

Opt-out form

If you are in a blackout area and have essential equipment that should not be shut off, you need to advise us by completing an opt-out form by Friday 7 November.

If you require any more information please contact us on or

Free cycling events at King’s

Last Wednesday saw Guy’s campus host the first cycling event of the year. New and seasoned cyclists had the opportunity to have a free check up with, local cycling shop On Your Bike‘s Dr Bike, checking bikes are road worthy, and registration with Southwark Police.

If you missed the chance this time, Dr Bike will be back on Wednesday 19 November 2014 at Guy’s for free check up’s and registration. There will also be the chance to exchange places with a HGV, to see the blind spots.

The King’s Sustainability team are relaunching the Bicycle Users Group to create a platform where cyclists around the College can discuss anything to do with cycling. You can sign-up here if you would like join the group.

image (2) image (3)image (1)

First Sustainability Forum 2014: Sustainable Start-ups

King’s students were given great ideas about social enterprises and how to start their own businesses last Thursday at the first Sustainability Forum.DSC_0005 small

The Sustainability Forum, which was held in Pyramid Room of Strand Campus, hosted two talks from Ento and Elephant Branded, a pair of university start-ups that are now innovative businesses based in London.

After a lively introduction about the Fossil Free campaign by Mark Horowitz, Sarah and Olivia opened the forum by explaining who the Sustainability Team are and what they hope the forum will achieve.

Ento (Japanese for insect) were the first to speak and argued that as the world’s population grows and countries become richer, other sources of food will be needed. Insects like grasshoppers and caterpillars could be the solution, as they are a more efficient food source than meat such as beef.

Ento is aiming to make eating insects more appealing to mass audiences by finding new ways to present them as food. They hope to slowly change the culture around insect food and introduce them into our everyday diet. Ento has partnerships with a farm in Spain who breed insects for human consumption, and organised a successful pop-up restaurant in 2013. They also sell products at speciality events and are planning to create a commercial product using crowdfunding.

The next speaker was Tim from Elephant Branded. Elephant Branded was started at university in 2011 and sells accessories hand-made by Cambodian communities using recycled cement bags. For every item Elephant Branded sells, a school bag or stationary kit is given to a needy child in Africa or Asia to help with their studies. In the past year Elephant Branded has snowballed, becoming more recognisable and selling in shops such as John Lewis. All of their profits currently go straight back into the business in order for them to expand the brand, with the founders not yet taking a salary.

Tim gave lots of advice to the students attending the forum, emphasising how important it was for universities students to take risks, especially on business ideas. Tim also stressed the point that Elephant Branded was not a charity, but a business, stating that “The more you make, the more you give away.” This highlighted the importance of financial sustainability: a social enterprise won’t last long without good foundations.

King’s students had lots of tough questions for the two companies, asking Ento about the appeal of their product, and Elephant Branded whether social products could ever challenge big brands. This helped for the discussion session which focused on how business could incorporate sustainability. This led to a livley debate about the nature of business and how monetary practices can be used to encourage certain types of behaviour.DSC_0008 small

Richard Milburn, a PhD student in war studies, who attended the forum said: “It was really good. My opinion is that business is the solution to the world’s problems. At the forum, you get interesting debate and multiple viewpoints. These examples of university start-ups are useful as it is encouraging. It provides inspiration and enables students.”

Sarah and Olivia were both pleased with the first forum, stating that “It was great to see two examples of how to transform a great idea into a practical enterprise, which is really useful for students.”

Overall the event was a great success, and the sustainability team were pleased to see so many students attend and are grateful to both sets of speakers. The next Sustainability Forum will be held in November and addressing the theme of ‘Well being, mental health and green spaces’.

Guest writer: Luke Graham